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Critical State Testing-Lucid Dreaming

Building a bridge between the two worldsBuilding a bridge between the two worlds

Pause now to ask yourself the following question: "Am I dreaming or awake, right now? " Be serious. Really try to answer the question to the best of your ability and be ready to justify your answer. Pause now to ask yourself the following question: "Am I dreaming or awake, right now? " Be serious. Really try to answer the question to the best of your ability and be ready to justify your answer. Now that you have an answer, ask yourself another question: " How often do I ask myself whether I am dreaming or awake during the course of an average day?" Unless your are a philosophy major or are already practicing lucid dreaming induction techniques, the answer is probably never. If you never ask this question while awake, how often do you suppose you wwill ask it while you are dreaming? Again, because the things you habitually think about and do while awake, the answer will probably be never.

The implication of this should be clear. You can use thr relationship between habits in waking and dreamng life to help you induce lucid dreams. One way to become lucid is to ask yourself wheteher or not you are dreaming while you are dreaming. In order to do thi, you should make a habit of asking the question while awake.A part of your mind has the job of "reality testing," that ia, determining whether stimuli aare of interna or external origin. Oliver Fox called this critical reflective system "the critical faculty" and he regared it as typically "asleep" in ordinary dreams. He also believed this faculty to be fundemental to the attainment of lucidity. In order to become lucid in a dream, wrote Fox:....we must arose the critical faculty which seems to a great extent inoperative in dreams, and here,too, degrees of activity become manifest. Let us suppose, for example, that in my dream I am in a cafe. At a table near mine is a lady who would be very attractive -0nly, she has four eyes. Here are some illustrations of these degrees of activity of the critical faculty.

(1) In the dream it is practically dormant, but on waking I have the feeling that there was something peculiar about this lady. Suddenly, I get it-"why, of course, she had four eyes!"

(2) In the dream I exhibit mild surprise and say,"How curious that girl has four eyes! It spoils her." But only in the same way that I might remark, "What a pity she had broken her nose! I wonder how she did it.

(3) The critical faculty is more awake and the four eyes are regarded as abnormal: but the phenomenon is not fully appreciated. I exclaim, " Good Lord!" and then reassure myself by adding, " There must be a freak show or a circus in the town." Thus I hover on the brink of realization, but do not quite get there.

(4) My critical faculty is now fully awake and refuses to be satisfied by this explanation. I continue my train of thought. " But there never was Waking Up in the Dream World. Such a freak! An adult woman with four eyes-it's impossible I am dreaming."

The challenge, then, is how to activate the critical faculty before bed so that it remains sufficiently primed to function properly when it is needed to explain some strange occurences in a dream.Paul Tholey has recently derived several techniques for inducing lucid dreams from over a decade of research involving more than two hundred subjects. Tholey claims that an effective method for achieving lucidity  ( especially for begginers) is to develop a "critical-reflective attitude" towards your state of consciousness. This is done by asking yourself whether or not you are dreaming while you are awake. He stressed  the importance of asking the "critical question" ("Am I dreaming or not? ") as frequently as possible, at least five to ten times a day, and in every situation that seems dreamlike.

The importance of asking the question in dream like situations is that in lucid dreams  the critical position is usually in situations similar to those in which it was asked during the day. Asking the question at bedtime and while falling asleep is also favorable. We have incorporated those hints into the following adaptation of Tholey's reflective technique.

Reference: Stephen Laberge, ph.D & Howard Rheingold.

NB:Frederik van Eeden 

Van Eeden was the son of Frederik Willem Van Eeden, director of the Royal Tropical Institute in Haarlem.In 1880 he studied Medicine in Amsterdam, where he pursued a bohemian lifestyle and wrote poetry.

Whilst living in the city, he coined the term lucid dream in the sense of mental clarity, a term that nowadays is a classic term in the Dream literature and study, meaning dreaming while knowing that one is dreaming. In his early writings, he was strongly influenced by Hindu ideas of selfhood, by Boehme's mysticism, and by Fechner's panpsychism.He went on to become a prolific writer, producing many critically acclaimed novels, poetry, plays, and essays. He was widely admired in the Netherlands in his own time for his writings, as well as his status as the first internationally prominent

Dutch psychiatrist.Van Eeden's psychiatrist practice included treating his fellow Tachtiger Willem Kloos as a patient starting in 1888. His treatment of Kloos was of limited benefit, as Kloos deteriorated into alcoholism and increasing symptoms of mental illness. Van Eeden also incorporated his psychiatric insights into his later writings, such as in a deeply psychological novel called "Van de koele meren des doods" (translated in English as "The Deeps of Deliverance").

Published in 1900, the novel intimately traced the struggle of a woman addicted to morphine as she deteriorated physically and mentally.His best known written work, "De Kleine Johannes" ("Little Johannes"), which first appeared in the premiere issue of De Nieuwe Gids, was a fantastical adventure of an everyman who grows up to face the harsh realities of the world around him and the emptiness of hopes for a better afterlife, but ultimately finding meaning in serving the good of those around him.

This ethic is memorialized in the line "Waar de mensheid is, en haar weedom, daar is mijn weg." ("Where mankind is, and her woe, there is my path.")"Waterlilly" as a wall poem in LeidenVan Eeden sought not only to write about, but also to practice, such an ethic. He established a commune named Walden (commune) , taking inspiration from Thoreau's book Walden, in Bussum, North Holland, where the residents tried to produce as much of their needs as they could themselves and to share everything in common, and where he took up a standard of living far below what he was used to.

This reflected a trend toward socialism among the Tachtigers; another Tachtiger, Herman Gorter, was a founding member of the world's first Communist political party, the Dutch Social-Democratic Party, in 1909.Van Eeden visited the U.S. He had contacts with William James and other psychologists. He met Freud in Vienna, whom he practically introduced in the Netherlands. He corresponded with Hermann Hesse, Charles Lloyd Tuckey (medical hypnotist), Harold Williams (linguist) and was a friend of Peter Kropotkin, the Russian anarchist living in London (UK).Van Eeden also had a keen interest in Indian philosophy. He translated many of Tagore’s works, including Gitanjali and short stories.In late years of his life, Van Eeden became a Roman Catholic.

Reference: Wikipedia

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